Composers: Clara Schumann, Hiller, Herz, Kalkbrenner
Compositions: Piano music
Performers: Howard Shelley p, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra
Catalogue Number: Hyperion CDA68240
Hyperion’s invaluable survey of Romantic piano concertos noted and obscure shows no signs of flagging as it reaches Volume 78 with the release of this little charmer combining Clara Schumann’s juvenile but delightful concerto with pieces by three contemporaries. Howard Shelley directs the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, performing works by Ferdinand Hiller, Henri Herz and Friedrich Kalkbrenner, all of whom have been largely forgotten, some with more justification than others.
Hiller, for example, whose three piano concerts were brought to light by Shelley and the TSO on Volume 45, is well worth a spin and his Konzertstück, Op. 113 deserves equal billing with Ms Wieck’s concerto, which she began at 14 when she was carving out a reputation as a performer. Her only surviving orchestral work challenges the performer and indicates what a mature and virtuosic pianist she already was. The final Allegro is the longest movement and the Andante features a cello solo, an idea taken up later by her friend Brahms.
Herz’s Rondo de Concert is attractive though insubstantial, a bonbon which Jeremy Nicholas’ liner notes bemoans is “sadly, unlikely to find a life beyond the recording studio, given the constitution of present-day public concerts”. Kalkbrenner’s La Rève makes a strong finish to the disc. Apparently an insufferable person – read the notes for Clara’s comments – he nevertheless could turn out a good showpiece.